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SENATE HANSARD 22 JULY 2021 VOL 30 NO 51

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 22nd July, 2021

The Senate met at Half-past Two o’clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE in the Chair)

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE

BILLS RECEIVED FROM THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: I have to inform the Senate that I have received the Cyber and Data Protection Bill [H. B. 18 A, 2021] and the Forest Amendment Bill [H. B. 19 A, 2021] which were transmitted from the National Assembly.

APOLOGIES RECEIVED FROM MINISTERS

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: With me, I have a list of apologies received from Ministers before we get into Questions Without Notice;

The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Hon. Mhona; the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. Mathema; the Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon. E. Moyo; the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Hon. Chitando; the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. J. Moyo; the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Dr. Kanhutu-Nzenza; the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Hon. M. Ndlovu; the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Hon. Haritatos and the Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Hon. Garwe.

I am so much disturbed. I need this one to be registered because to have such a long list of apologies, I do not think this is acceptable – [HON. SENATORS: Hear, hear.] – sending in apologies does not mean that we have someone who is going to be answerable to questions which may come up from the Senators. I think if the Clerk can help us to write maybe to the Chief Secretary so that he writes, to the Ministers that Senate is not happy about what is happening. Those who are present are Hon. Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Sen. Mutsvangwa, who is the Leader of the House, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon. Prof. Murwira and also the Deputy Minister of the same Ministry.

*HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President for the points that you have raised. We are not going to remain quiet. This is where the Executive and Parliament’s relationship is going astray. Hon. Ministers, I do not know if they are aware of the value or importance of the shared relationship. We represent constituencies, we go to public hearings and we collect oral evidence to ensure that our Executive is informed of what needs to be done.

However, I believe that the Executive is taking this relationship for granted whereas this is the key function that we have. This is where we connect with the people whom we represent. Do they want to run this Government without the people’s input? Not only that, we bring reports which we compile from remote areas, we debate them and not a single time have we heard a Minister answering to the concerns that we would have raised. This means that there is no value addition to what we would have done. Maybe the time is ripe that we should invite the President to come and answer questions because I do not believe that the President would refuse to answer because his appointees are shaming him. They are showing him that they are neither showing respect to His Excellency the President or their Constitutional duties.

It is painful to have such a long list of apologies and we only have a handful of Ministers here. The national broadcaster is here to carry out a live coverage on television so that the citizens can hear but it is only going to take place with only a few Ministers in the House. It should be stressed to the Ministers that it is their key duty to come and respond to issues that would have been raised in Parliament and answer questions. I thank you Madam President.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Here, we have the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Hon. Amb. Shava who is on virtual, I think he will be with us. Hon. Ziyambi is in the National Assembly and will be joining us soon. In the House, we have the Minister of Defence and War Veterans, Hon. Muchinguri-Kashiri. She is looking younger and younger every day.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

          HON. SEN. S. MPOFU: Thank you Madam President. I will direct my question to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Hon. Prof. Murwira. Hon. Minister, how far have you gone as a Ministry with the transformation of the legal framework for colleges and innovation for development of Zimbabwe’s industrialisation? I thank you.          

          THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Madam President, I wish to thank Hon. Mpofu for seeking to understand how far we are with the legal framework as well as the issue of transformation of colleges.

Madam President, as you know, we have embarked on a programme of making an education system that produces people who can produce goods and services as dictated and as guided by Vision 2030 by His Excellency, the President of the Republic, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa. What we have embarked on is to say, a nation can only develop through the capabilities of its people and those capabilities can only come through a well designed education, innovation and industrialisation system. So what has happened is that we have five pillars that we are looking at. The first pillar is the programme infrastructure of what we are learning, which areas are we learning? Secondly, we said the staffing infrastructure - which means, what kind of people do we have – the human capital to deliver this capability. Thirdly, we then said what kind of physical and digital infrastructure do we need to deliver the same. Fourthly, what kind of financial infrastructure do we need to deliver the same. Finally and most importantly, what is the legal framework that can enable this transformation to take place.

I will now address the fifth one which is the legal framework. One of the most important pieces of legislation that has been passed by this Hon. House is the amended Manpower Planning and Development Act that has now been assented to by His Excellency the President. What this Act seeks to achieve is to put into action an Education System 5.0 that transcends from teaching to research, to community service, to innovation and industrialisation. It is now a legal requirement that every university/college must have an innovation and industrialisation fund which makes it possible to have innovation hubs that translate ideas into goods and services, to have business development as well as cause industrialisation. Again, this House made it possible that all our colleges, polytechnics and teachers’ colleges in response to the dictates of the Constitution, Section 61 on academic freedom which says, ‘for these colleges to contribute nicely and productively, they need to have the freedom to research and think’. This Hon. House has now said, let there be a Tertiary Education Council. So this is huge transformation.

Unlike universities, colleges, polytechnics and industrial training colleges as well as teachers’ colleges were Government departments, which basically means they were constrained in terms of what they had to do. So now, we are in the process of effecting the legislation by appointing the council. We are in the process of vetting people so that they can be appointed to make sure that by next month or latest September, things are put into effect. You would also know Madam President, that this august House passed the Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Centre Bill which is now in its final stages of preparation for assent by His Excellency the President.

This again, harnesses the energies of our people to innovate for the purpose of industrialisation and modernisation rather than just to learn for learning sake but to create industry. So this is a very important piece of legislation that this House passed and is awaiting implementation or signature by His Excellency and subsequent implementation which we will do immediately. Again, some legislative changes that have happened in terms of Statutory Instruments is to expand the number of what we call ‘trades’ that our people can do in order to bolster this economy that includes a new trade on bio gas fixers, solar technicians, forestry issues and farm management for the first time. This is through the Manpower Development Act. So we believe that these Statutory Instruments which are to give effect to new trades where people think and do will transform this country to a country where people can develop their own - nyika inodhivhelopwa nevene vayo. So we believe that we are giving the ability of people legislatively to do things.

One of the Bills that is also coming to this august House is the Universities Act Amendment Bill which is aligning all university Acts, again to the dictates of the Manpower Planning and Development Act, to the dictates of Education 5.0 which is making universities lean, efficient and focused on producing people who are results oriented looking at innovation for industrialisation. So in terms of legislative infrastructure, I would really want to thank you Madam President and thank the House for making ground breaking changes to the way education is done because education is actually the way to progress. It is not about cramming books but about understanding things so that we can have an industry. We have always said that industry does not fall from the sky but industry is created by people when they want to serve their needs as we said it is a tripartite whereby we say our human needs, our people’s needs are the primary focus and our education must therefore be translated from the human needs because it is trying to understand human needs so that it can create industry which will then serve the human needs, and this has been enabled by the legal transformation or legislative transformation that has occurred through this august House.

I hope by this explanation I was able to demonstrate that there has been a lot of transformation legislatively to give effect to a people that own their destiny, to a people that are contributing to the development of their very motherland through being able to do things. I thank you.

THE HON. PRESIDENT OF SENATE: In the House, we now have the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Kazembe Kazembe and the Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Mudyiwa.

HON. SEN. KOMICHI: Thank you Madam President. I will direct my question to the Leader of the House. When the Government introduced SI 127, it had very good intensions to help the people. However, what is on the ground is very negative. As a result of the SI 127 the parallel market has gone up from 120 to 150, which is an increase of 25%. Prices of services and goods have gone up abnormally. Salaries and wages of the workers have been heavily eroded. The question is; what is the Government doing to manage this pandemic and who and what is driving the parallel market?

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Madam President, I would like to thank Sen. Komichi for his very important question. Let me, first of all, say to this august House, that generally, the economy of this country has done very well. It is doing extremely well, to the point where even the IMF and World Bank are actually applauding the Government for what the dream team in the fiscal and monitory policy are doing.

There are a number of things which the President and Government have done to make sure that we deal with the issue of the weapon of inflation, which has been used in this country by dominant post imperial colonialists to just make sure that there is regime change in this country. I want to say the President and the Government have done very well to deal with that by the SI he is referring to. Specifically, these Statutory Instruments have actually brought in a lot of monetary reforms. They have dealt heavy blows to those who have been trying to manipulate the stock exchange, also for those who have been abusing mobile money banking. The introduction of the SI, even the introduction of the forex auction has also dealt a blow to that agenda by the enemy.

Yes, this cannot change overnight, but we all know what it was like in June 2020, the situation that was there before the Statutory Instrument. Looking at what is there today, there is certainly a positive change. Yes, we still see the parallel market, but the parallel market rate which is there now, the activity is very small and they are not as bad as what was there before the Statutory Instruments were put in place.

The parallel market is really almost a small fish now and the amounts being traded on the parallel market do not move mountains in this Government. We are obviously happy about what is happening at the RBZ where they are actually naming and shaming all those who may have wayward behaviours to pose problems to the financial situation in the country. We also want to say, on the fiscal side, it has continued to do its part to make sure that they balance the budget and even a surplus. Madam President, there has been no printing of money in the country. They have also been balancing the budget and for the first time in so many years, we are going to see that there will not be any supplementary budget.

So that means that there is a lot of effort which is being done on the fiscal and monetary policy. Yes, we continue to work hard. Behaviours take time to change, but the Government is doing all it can to make sure that we arrest the situation and make the lives of the people of this country better. I rest my case. Thank you Madam President.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Madam President. I want to applaud the Minister for the response; but through you, Madam President, I would want to submit that as much as what the Hon. Minister said was correct or fair, I would want to draw attention to the parallel market. We cannot say to the common man on the street it is insignificant because what is disturbing the generality of the population is that the so called legal companies which are operating, they actually resonate in sympathy with the parallel market.

If you go to the shops right now, they will have a USD price but when they go to our local currency, it is actually pegged around that 145 and 150. So what is the Government doing to reign in on those legal companies because I do not think we may continue to say a lot, but if we have got companies which are supposed to act legally, actually doing it blatantly and nothing is happening, I think the message is being sent to say yes, probably the auction and all those things may be a politicking thing but the real thing is this. Thank you Hon. President.

HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: I think I understand where he is coming from. The issue which is affecting the lives of the people - that is exactly what the Government is concerned about. Rightly so this is what I have said that there are a lot of activities happening, from the monitoring side of things where the RBZ are actually naming and shaming the big companies you are referring to, so that at least they shy away from this wayward behaviour which will cause more problems to our people.

Certainly a lot of work is being done because at the end of the day, the concern of the second republic is to make sure that the standard of living of our people improves. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. MOEKETSI: My question is directed to the Leader of the House. There is a huge outcry from cotton farmers in our constituencies, that they are not timeously receiving their payments. Do you know about this, because we think that should they be given their monies in time, they will be able to prepare for the next season? I thank you.

*THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): I thank Sen. Moeketsi for her pertinent question because farmers are into farming so that they can raise some money to support themselves, send their children to school as well as buy food to sustain themselves. So the Government views farmers as very important because the livelihood of the people will also be developed from community level once the farmers are into farming. So as Government, we are disturbed about the issue of the cotton farmers. It has been outstanding for quite a long time. I am happy to report that the Government has taken measures to ensure that cotton farmers have started to receive their payments. I concede that to the majority of farms there has been a delay in payments but measures are been taken to ensure that cotton farmers are paid. I thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Madam President. My question is directed to the Minister of Energy and Power Development. For some time now, we were promised that fuel is going to be bought using local currency in our service stations. What arrangements have been put in place to allow people to access fuel in local currency because people are now travelling more than 4 km radius and there is this inter-city travel ban because US dollars are not readily available? When are we going to buy fuel from our service stations using our local currency? I thank you.

THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENERGY AND POWER DEVELOPMENT (HON. MUDYIWA): Thank you Madam President and I thank the Hon. Senator for his question which is of public interest as it relates to fuel. Let me say as the Ministy of Energy and Power Development, it is our intention to ensure that fuel is sold using Zimbabwean dollars, Hon. Members know that. Companies who use their own foreign currency can purchase their own fuel and they are allowed to sell in US dollars. However, there are companies that are receiving money from Government auction using the inter-bank rate, once they import such fuel, they must sell it in local currency. What I observed is that a lot of companies that are getting money from the auction floor are selling in foreign currency and that is why fuel that is sold in local currency or ecocash is now scarce.

We are still carrying out investigations into the matter to establish who is getting the money at the auction rate and selling fuel in US dollars. We can get that information from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe but if we do not receive that information, we are not in a position to identify who has received the money using the inter-bank rate. The matter is still under investigation so that we can come up with an informed position. Companies such as CMED and PetroTrade are the places where fuel is obtainable in local currency. Once the information is made available we will name and shame such companies that are doing this practice as what Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe did, they named and shamed the abuse of foreign currency by some companies.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHIKWAKA: Thank you Madam President. My supplementary question is, it would appear as if such companies are operating from Mozambique yet they are here in our country and RBZ is here. The culprits are known, so there is nothing to investigate. The culprits are known. Such companies have been given foreign currency at the auction rate to buy fuel, and the Minister responsible for arresting is here, where is the problem really? The RBZ must be able to work hand and glove with the Ministry of Finance so that we come up with meaningful developments for our people. What is the problem with their investigations, the arresting Minister is here? I thank you.

*HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Madam President. We have always had this problem of getting information on who received money, what date and to look into their sales. The information is with the Ministry of Finance. We wrote to them requesting for adequate information. If we do not receive that information, it becomes difficult to verify when and how much they received and to also look into their sales. We are conducting that process. At the moment, we do not have adequate information, hence we have not concluded our investigations.   Once we receive that information, we will come up with a solution.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: Thank you Madam President. My supplementary is that this question, may be this is the third or fourth time that it has been asked and the answer always is that there are investigations going on but till when? It has taken too long because people outside there need answers since they are suffering. They are holding Zimbabwean dollars and they have heard that there are companies who are getting that fuel after being given money by RBZ yet nothing is happening.

HON. MUDYIWA: Thank you Madam President. Like I have mentioned before, it takes time. We do not say the investigation is done once but let me just start by saying from the figures that we get, we have got more fuel through Direct Fuel Import (FDI), meaning that these are the people who are using their free funds to import fuel. However, very few million litres that are imported through the auction rate are being sold through the RTGS facility.

Secondly, like I have explained before, I do not know whether Hon. Members really understand what we go through because this is with RBZ. If we do not get the information on time, it also takes time for us to conclude our investigations. We are really doing all we can to get to the bottom of the matter and as soon as we get the information, we shall avail it to the House and let everybody know what is happening. I thank you.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Madam President. I think this would sound like repetition but allow me to ask the Minister of Energy and Power Development, because this is an issue of national importance. People are suffering out there and in actual fact, we have been talking about this for quite some time. Am I getting it clearly that we are having problems of information coming from another Government department to another Government department on issues of investigating something which is patently illegal? I think then we will have a problem here because we cannot say with all due respect that they are having challenges in getting information from RBZ. That information is public knowledge because it is on auction, it is actually public. What really is the problem? With all due respect, the Minister has to straight away explain what the challenge really is.

I am not the only one because people out there are not convinced with the answer unfortunately which has been proffered by the Hon. Minister. This issue has to be put to rest. When we get money on the auction market, it is actually public funds and perhaps to be accountable. It is the duty of the Government to bring those who go against the system to account. I thank you.

HON. MUDYIWA: I think the point has been noted. Let us get back to the drawing board and come back with the information.

*HON. SEN. FEMAI: Thank you Madam President for giving me this opportunity to ask my question which is directed to the Minister of Defence and War Veterans. However before that, can you allow me to express my gratitude to the Minister of Information who is always here every sitting day. It must be made public that she always attends these meetings.

I would like to find out from the Minister of Defence how the war that is in Mozambique and the Eastern part of Africa is impacting on our country. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Thank you Madam President. I also want to thank Sen. Femai for the question about the disturbances in Mozambique and the extent it is disturbing our country. The Mozambique issue has been there for a long time. I would want to believe that we are all aware that this has been going on for three years. Initially   it was not in the public domain as to what exactly was happening and who was involved up until Mozambique on its own informed SADC that they have problems with terrorists.

The word ‘terrorist’ is a bad word because it has something to do with what is going on these days. If there are terrorists; you observe the massacre that happened in Mozambique and how they used the Mozambique Ocean. Our goods pass through the Mozambique Ocean. There is also piracy in that they intercept ships that carry economic goods to and from.   As Zimbabwe, we are quite disturbed about such action because Mozambique is the lifeline to Zimbabwe since we are landlocked. Such disturbances threaten our economy because we want our economy to be a middle income economy by 2030 so that the lives of our people is improved. We are looking at 12 billion for the mining industry. We receive our fuel from Mozambique, and we use their ports for receiving fuel. Not only does it serve Zimbabwe, but it also serves other land locked countries whose goods also pass through Zimbabwe. It is mostly affecting the SADC region.

We cannot look at Zimbabwe in isolation because it also affects Zambia, South Africa, Botswana and all SADC countries. Zimbabwe cannot keep quiet by saying that we are not Cabo Delgado, because if there is peace in Mozambique in terms of our National Defence Policy, it says that we are very peaceful in Zimbabwe but we also look at our neighbouring countries. Our development in Zimbabwe is because of peace, internally and outside. So if there is no peace in the entire SADC bloc, there is no development. We need to put our heads together to assist the Mozambican nationals.

As SADC, I am happy we are agreed that we deployed a standby force as SADC so that once we come together as a bloc we can face the enemy much stronger in the region and not only in Mozambique. When the leaders sat at a summit, they agreed that the war in Mozambique involves us as Zimbabwe and we should also make our little contribution in various forms; technical, training of forces, air force and other such things. So, as Zimbabwe, we are not going to be left behind in committing ourselves so as to ensure that we work together with all other countries.

Some countries are offering to train marines for those that have marine forces and the ocean. We are renowned in the region for our Air Force and the guerrilla warfare, we also rate it. We are busy putting up what we are best at to also do that and assist. Once we commit ourselves, His Excellency comes to Parliament to then seek the approval of Parliament that we are now going to be involved in such an engagement. Once we have reached such a stage, you will see the Minister coming to request for authority for us to go into Mozambique. I thank you.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Mr. President, I do understand the importance of regional cooperation on issues of this matter, but I also submit through you that the effect, unfortunately, we are affected differently as a people of SADC region and it is not a secret that as Zimbabwe, we are more affected than any other country. As ordinary citizens who are going to suffer, are the arrangements which are there, (we are not saying we should be told the nitty gritties), enough to take care of our national interests as Zimbabweans or they may become a point where we may also as a nation take our responsibility to defend our country and to advance the national interests of our citizens? I thank you.

HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI: Let me thank Hon. Sen. Mavetera for that very important question. I do agree that the threats that are coming from Mozambique are not as direct as we experienced some years ago when our pipeline was attacked by RENAMO. Zimbabwe had to react because there was a direct attack on its own interests. In this case, the level of threats is indirect. As I have indicated, we are taking a regional posture because of the definition of the threats.

I appreciate that when it comes to the sea, it is open. If there is an attack in the sea, obviously there are some regional agencies that deal with the sea; it is not just one country. Internationally, there is a convention where every country has also some rights and also some benefits to it. So there are situations where Mozambique, in a way, has a direct responsibility up to some point but of course, other waters belong to the whole international community. We need to define the rate of threat. In our case, it is not a direct threat, but if it threatens Zimbabwe at bilateral level, definitely, because we have bilateral relations with Mozambique which we did before.

If there is a threat, we will not hesitate. We will definitely come to Parliament to seek your support but as it is, yes there are some threats and we continue to monitor developments in the area. I cannot divulge much but intelligence has it that there is some movement or manoeuvring. We are monitoring and the nation has to take comfort that we are on top of that situation, but there is no threat at the moment. I thank you.

HON. SEN. KAMBIZI: Allow me Mr. President to direct my question to the Leader of Business in the House. What is Government policy on ICT infrastructural development and network provision to all corners of this country? I am asking this issue because it is affecting the generality of our citizens, in particular, those who are in the peripheries of their provinces. Of late, the provision of network problem is also affecting Members of Parliament in that due to COVID-19 meetings are being held virtually and some of the Members have to drive in excess of 200km in search of internet, which is proving to be very costly to Government. Can I get clarification? I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Hon. Sen. Kambizi for that question. We all saw that the President launched the National Digital Centre which attests to the fact that digital information is very important and that all information should be accessible to everyone. A lot of investment is being done and a lot of money has been put aside with the National Development Strategy 1, to make sure that the Ministry of ICT is ahead in terms of making sure there are transmitters and network provision in all corners. This is being done to make sure that everyone has access to information. Information is power; we are talking about devolution where the aim of the Second Republic is to ensure all the people in the ten provinces of Zimbabwe access information.

For this to happen, there is need for this ICT network. A lot of work is being done even in schools. There is need to ensure that all schools are connected in one way or the other. With the advent of COVID-19, there is need to make sure that our schools have electricity, connectivity and the gadgets. A lot of investment is being put in that line. The budget which you approved gave a certain amount of funds to the Ministry of ICT to make sure that they procure more transmitters and this is work in progress. I thank you Mr. President.

Questions without notice were interrupted by THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT in terms of Standing Order No. 62.

HON. SEN. MOHADI: I move that time for Questions without Notice be extended by twenty minutes.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: I second.

HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: My question is directed to the Leader of Government Business. What is Government policy on financial institutions which refuse to accept US$ notes which they say are dirty? Also, if they allow you to bank it, they will charge you 5% of whatever value. I thank you.

THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Hon. Dr. Matevera for that question. This is an issue which if he has information to that effect, he should put it in writing so that he can get well researched answers to what these institutions are doing. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is on record to have said we use all the currencies. So, if there are any financial institutions that are refusing to accept the money – I have seen a statement before by the US Embassy stating that they accept all their money because their currency does not expire. I would implore the Hon. Sen to put his question in writing so we can come back to this House with a proper answer.

HON. SEN. KOMICHI: I will direct my question to our beloved Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs. In the history of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, I witnessed the current General of the Defence Forces, Commander V. Sibanda coming out public on You-tube defining the role of the army and the politics. His speech is viral on the internet and it was seconded by the late Army Com. Lft. Gen. E. Chimonyo - may his dear soul rest in eternal peace. It was a situation in which the two generals separated politics and the role of the army. This is the first time in the history of Zimbabwe. When we listened to those two videos, we applauded them and also applauded the Second Dispensation for allowing that freedom of speech from the generals to give confidence to the people.

My question and my concern comes to the statement which was in circulation for the last two weeks, in which our dear friend Cde Chinamasa was attributed to have said ZANU-PF and the Army are one and you cannot separate them. I also want to wish quick recovery to Cde Chinamasa who was involved in an accident. The statement which was attributed to Cde. Chinamasa reversed the gains of freedom and many people got worried by that statement. However, this thing was on social media. Is it true? I think the nation wants to hear from the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs.

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND WAR VETERANS (HON. MUCHINGURI-KASHIRI): Thank you Mr. President Sir. I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Komichi for that very important question. The two statements that you made reference to, apparently I have not had sight of them. I want to thank you for your observations,particularly for our CDF and also the statement alluded to our late Army Commander. I am pleased that you acknowledge that they were indeed positive and they made clear separation of the role of Defence Forces, that is of defending our territorial integrity and also defending our independence. Also, they went further to separate politics from the role of the Defence Forces. I did not have sight of it and I will not say much on that aspect.

You also went further to quote a statement that was issued by Cde. Chinamasa, who is not part of the Executive and statements that politicians make are something that I cannot defend. I cannot go by what is on YouTube, I cannot comment much on it. This is not a position of Government; he is a politician who can say whatever statement he feels but had it come from the Minister of Defence and War Veterans, then you would have every reason to worry.

Mr. President Sir, this is how far I can go in responding to fake news on YouTube. I cannot comment on that, thank you.

*HON. SEN. CHIEF CHUNDU: Thank you Mr. President. My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. He eloquently spoke about innovation hubs. The Bible says, ‘My people perish because of lack of knowledge’, but through the Hon. Minister’s explanation, it means that we now have knowledge. Hon. Minister, how far are we prepared in as far as innovation hubs are concerned in the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines to fight the pandemic?

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President, I would like to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Chundu for posing a very pertinent question. Firstly, our universities which are the innovation hubs, last year did amazing things that have never been done by universities. They rose and used their minds to defend this country by manufacturing sanitisers and face masks and these things are the basics that are used in fighting COVID-19. The innovation hubs did not end there but they are going forward conducting research on complementary medicines.

They are researching on what we can find to use in traditional medicines to eradicate the pandemic. For example, they are researching on traditional medicines such as rufa ndichimuka and Zumbani. At the innovation hub of the University of Zimbabwe, we discovered that zinc helps to fight COVID-19. They now know how to extract zinc from Zumbani and are also working on the provision of oxygen. In the next few weeks, I will expect oxygen to be distributed from the innovation hubs and it will help our country a lot.   Our research is also looking into tradition and modern medicines to see how best we can fight the pandemic using these medicines

When God created heaven and earth, he made sure that every problem has a solution to it. Currently, there are issues of vaccines that were being discussed and our research at the innovation hubs is focusing on these vaccines so that we can have a vaccine that can treat the pandemic. We do not have something concrete as of now but the innovation hubs are continuing with their research so that we can have something tangible to fight the pandemic. I hope that as a country we are going to succeed and get a vaccine that can eradicate the pandemic. We are currently seized with using the innovation hubs for research although the onset of universities in Zimbabwe, we did not have the innovation hubs that we now have and are using for research. As a country, we are using these innovation hubs to find solutions to some of the problems that we are facing as a country. The innovation hubs are researching to find solutions to eradicate the pandemic and I foresee that we are going to succeed. I thank you.

(v)HON. SEN. CHIEF MATHUPULA: My question is directed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development. I heard the Hon. Minister speaking about innovation hubs and how he seeks to foster the culture of innovation. My question is; in our societies and communities there are people who have shown that they are naturally innovative and have invented some interesting gadgets. How does your Ministry assist such people to improve, protect their inventions and innovation capabilities? I thank you.      

THE MINISTER OF HIGHER AND TERTIARY EDUCATION, INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT (HON. PROF. MURWIRA): Thank you Mr. President. I wish to thank Hon. Sen. Chief Mathupula for such a very important question on who gets protected in the innovation system, particularly concerning people who are not in faculty.

Mr. President, I want to say that the innovation hub is not only a place for people who are in the faculty, which means who are in the university or college. The innovation hub has different pipelines, of people that get into the innovation hub. Of course, the majority is the faculty people, but there is a stream of people that might be coming from industry and a stream of people that might not be at university but have got very good ideas. This is straight from society. We also take them at the innovation hub. This is because the innovation hub is a place of ideas - whether you are in faculty or outside of faculty.

What then happens when there is a brilliant idea that is coming to the innovation hub is that it is technically evaluated for originality and then it is legally protected, which is intellectual property protection and then it is incubated. In actual fact, when they have a product, we then do business development on the product with the idea of making the product industrially produced. Therefore from the innovation hub, this product goes to an industrial park or any place where it can be manufactured and when people are at the innovation hub, they can be coming from Gutu or Tsholotsho, if they have got a good idea, it will be nurtured.

So these are national centres for innovation. They do not discriminate where the idea is coming from. Whether it is coming from a small village, a big village, a faculty or no faculty, the innovation hub is a meeting place for all these ideas. We introduced the innovation hub as a link between society and the University or society and the college. So I want to say to the Hon. Senator, anybody with good ideas is accepted at the innovation hub. It is not the monopoly of people who are in faculty. I thank you.

Questions Without Notice were interrupted by THE HON DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE in terms of Standing Order Number 66.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE

POLICY REGARDING BURIAL OF UNCLAIMED BODIES

  1. HON. SEN. MABIKA asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to inform the House;

(a) Government policy regarding the burial of unclaimed bodies in mortuary;

(b) How long it takes to declare pauper’s burial considering the increasing number of unclaimed bodies in Chipinge and the unbearable stench coming from such mortuaries.

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): I would like to thank the Hon. Senator for such a pertinent question. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage is mainly responsible for giving burial orders to relatives of a known person to enable the deceased to be buried. In the event where bodies are not claimed, adverts through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, are flighted. That now becomes an issue of the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

They are flighted for a period of 21 days. Thereafter, the Ministry of Health and Child Care will write to the police, which is now resident in our Ministry for clearance and further investigations. Once all those investigations are complete and permission granted, the burial will then be finalised by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. I thank you Mr. President Sir.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Order. I do not have to remind Hon. Senators that you should put your phones on silent or better off, switch them off.

HON. SEN. MABIKA: Supplementary question. Thank you Minister. Are you aware that for example in Chipinge, I am not sure if you have done the investigations. There are bodies of people who died in 2020 and they have not yet been buried?

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Senator, that is a specific issue.

HON. SEN. MABIKA: But it is there on the Order Paper.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Is it? Minister, you can carry on responding. You should have carried on actually responding.

HON. KAZEMBE: Thank you Mr. President Sir. Coming to question (b) again, like I mentioned, this particular area now is resident in another Ministry. We only get involved when we are supposed to do investigations after a declaration has been made that this body, nobody has claimed it so there is need to investigate probably what caused it, but otherwise it is not within the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. So I would request the question, Mr. President Sir, to be referred to the Minister of Health and Child Care and or the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. I thank you Mr. President Sir.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Okay, at least we now know where that question should be directed. Perhaps Hon. Sen. Mabika will do that, but there is no harm, Hon. Minister for you, whilst seated in Cabinet or somewhere, to just gently remind your colleagues that there is a problem in Chipinge so that it is sorted out. From what the Senator is saying, it appears there is now a very horrible smell coming from the mortuary. Is that correct?

HON. SEN. MABIKA: Yes, Mr. President.

THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: The bodies have actually overstayed. So let us solve this once and for all. Thank you Hon. Minister.

MOTION

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE): I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 2 on today’s Order Paper be suspended until the rest of the Orders have been disposed of.

Motion put and agreed to.

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS AND CULTURAL HERITAGE (HON. KAZEMBE), the Senate adjourned at Four O’clock p.m. until Tuesday, 27th July, 2021.

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